Author: Brett Pollakoff

Phoenix Suns v Sacramento Kings

Jeff Hornacek questions Suns’ toughness: ‘When teams get physical, we look like a high school team’


It’s an understatement to point out that things haven’t materialized as planned for the Suns this season, but after a blowout loss in Miami on Monday, the team may be facing its lowest point of the year.

Not only did Goran Dragic score 21 points in just 15 minutes of action to help bury his former team, but the Suns saw multiple players get ejected due to excessively physical play.

And to make matters worse, all of that misdirected fire that Phoenix showed wasn’t at all impressive to the team’s head coach.

From Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic:

“We have to find out who on this team is going to be tough,” Suns coach Jeff Hornacek said. “In terms of going after balls, we are soft going after everything. Teams just take the ball out of our hands. Maybe they grab your arm but you have to be tougher than that. I don’t know what it is but, when teams get physical, we look like a high school team. We have to get tougher and we have to find tougher guys who are going to battle. I get tired of watching us not go after balls. There is nothing worse to me than being soft and not going after a ball.

“In the second half, we showed some fight. We waited three quarters of getting pushed in the back before we decided to do anything about it.”

For the majority of the first half of the season, the Suns were somewhat firmly in the postseason picture. But after making the midseason trades to send Dragic and Isaiah Thomas packing, and thanks to a surging team from OKC, Phoenix is now just one game over .500, and two-and-a-half games out of the West’s final playoff spot.

Phoenix is reeling, having won just three times in its last 13 games. We’ll see if Hornacek’s comments end up serving as motivation, or simply send the team further into a tailspin.

Kevin Garnett gets into it with Austin Rivers, double technicals issued (VIDEO)

Kevin Garnett, Bennett Salvatore

Kevin Garnett played for Doc Rivers on the 2008 Celtics team that won an NBA title, but that doesn’t mean he’s willing to take any grief from his son.

During Monday night’s contest between Doc’s Clippers and KG’s Timberwolves, Austin Rivers bumped into Garnett after a timeout was called as he headed toward the bench.

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It seemed harmless enough, but Garnett made sure to enter fake tough guy mode and get in Rivers’ face, just in case the young guard had meant it as some kind of slight.

Stephen Curry on fan support playing Nets: ‘I kind of forgot I was in Brooklyn for a second’

Stephen Curry
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Stephen Curry is arguably the game’s most popular player at the moment, and he plays for not only one of the best teams in the league in the Golden State Warriors, but also one of the most fun to watch.

That combination leads to fans turning out in droves when the Warriors hit the road, which can make for an uncomfortable scenario for the home team — and that’s what the Nets experienced on Monday.

From Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News:

“I kind of forgot (I was in Brooklyn) for a second, to be honest with you,” Curry said. “I think (the crowd) just had so much bottled-up excitement because nothing happened in the first half and then all of a sudden it started to get going and we had a big contingency of fans.

“Taking that 3-pointer, I just kind of went out and looked around and was kind of like, ‘Where am I?’”

The Nets play in a sterile new arena, and have little in the way of home-grown fans since the team just moved to Brooklyn less than three years ago. It takes time to build a legitimate and passionate following, and it will come once the team strings together a few consecutive seasons of continued success.

Brooklyn is not the only team with this problem, certainly; the Clippers and the Suns have most recently complained of similar scenarios.

The Nets ended up winning on a last-second Jarrett Jack jumper, and head coach Lionel Hollins also referenced the crowd during his postgame remarks.

“We can send all those Golden State fans home that came to watch here in Brooklyn,” Hollins said. “There were a lot of roaring when (the Warriors) were coming back. But the loudest roar was for Jarrett at the end.”

Markieff Morris ejected following takedown of Goran Dragic (VIDEO)

Phoenix Suns v Denver Nuggets

Early in the third quarter of Monday night’s contest between the Heat and the Suns, Goran Dragic came up with a steal, and was off to the races in transition.

Markieff Morris hustled back, and not wanting to allow the easy to points, went up to contest as Dragic went up for the shot.

Announcement: Pro Basketball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $300,000 Fantasy Basketball league for Tuesday’s NBA games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $30,000. Starts at 7pm ET on Tuesday. Here’s the FanDuel link.

But Morris collided with Dragic, and the big man’s momentum sent his former teammate crashing to the floor. It didn’t seem intentional, and Dragic said afterward that there’s no bad blood between him and any of his former teammates. But the dangerous nature of the play caused the officials to rule it as a flagrant two, which meant Morris received an automatic ejection.

As far as things getting physical, this was only the beginning.

Nike Basketball unveils Elite Series shoes for Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, LeBron James (PHOTOS)

elite featured

Nike Basketball unveiled this year’s Elite Series, which are essentially upgraded models of the signature shoes for the brand’s biggest stars — Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant and LeBron James.



The Kobe X debuted in a low-top model, but now moves back to the high version for the Elite edition. The Flyknit upper is made from recycled polyester yarn, and features the same traction and cushioning system that were in place on the low-top edition. I got to play in these last week as part of a month-long Nike Basketball training experience (more on that soon), and the performance was extremely impressive.



The big change here is that the Hyperposite upper is now perforated for increased lightness and breathability. The design on these really stands out, and might be the best of the Elite Series bunch.



Much like last year’s LeBron 11 Elite, the new edition adds additional support structures around the outside for increased lockdown and stability — something that was specifically requested a season ago by LeBron James himself.

There will be three Elite Series collections launching over the next three months.

The Team Collection, launching April 18


The Elevate Collection, launching May 15


The Rose Gold Collection, launching June 5


Check out the official release for more information and additional images.